CCC called in on Mills
IN EARLY 2020, police investigations into the disappearance of Kaydence Dawita Mills had hit a wall. The young girl had been missing for more than three years and was feared dead, but police could not find her body. The officers had excavated the backyard at her Chinchilla family home in Burbank Street but came up emptyhanded. It would be another three months before police were directed to dig up an embankment near the Chinchilla Weir. Here they found Kaydence’s body, wrapped in a plastic bag. It is understood the breakthrough came after police called on the Queensland Crime and Corruption Commission investigators to use their coercive powers to force a key witness to speak up. The CCC’s annual report states this new information related to conversations the witness had with Kaydence’s mum, Sinitta Tammy Dawita, and her partner Tane Saul Desatge about her disappearance. As a result both were charged with murder, torture and interfering with a corpse on March 1, 2020. The pair is yet to enter pleas and remain in custody.
The CCC’s involvement was one of 16 hearings that grilled witnesses during investigations into serious crimes against children in 2020-21.
They included an investigation into a serial rapist who was active in the Sunshine Coast area from 2019-2020.
Two people had information investigators wanted but they wouldn’t cough it up.
Another matter involved a cold case investigation into the disappearance and suspected murder of a boy from Brisbane’s western suburbs, sometime between 1968 and 1970.
The CCC has extensive coercive powers.
It can hold hearings, compelling witnesses to attend where they must respond to questions, even if the answer is self-incriminating.
It also has the power to compel people or agencies to produce records or other items.
The hearings give investigators new information and evidence that can advance complex crime and corruption investigations, as well as improve their understanding of organised crime involvement in criminal activity.
These powers are used extensively in corruption investigations and major crime investigations.